It didn’t take ACC league play long to bless us with a gem. Tuesday night, Triangle foes UNC and NC State will face each in a matchup between two top 15 teams. NC State opened ACC play with an 87-82 win over Miami on Jan. 3. Carolina visits NC State for its second ACC game of the season. The Tar Heels won at Pitt, 85-60, on Saturday. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s contest.
- The Pack is off to its best start (13-1) since the 1973-74 NC State team that finished the season 30-1 and won the National Championship.
- This season marks the 11th time overall and second time in three seasons the Tar Heels are starting ACC play with two road games (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1998, 2003 and 2017). Two years ago, the Tar Heels lost at Georgia Tech, then won in overtime at Clemson en route to winning the 2017 NCAA title. UNC has won both road games six times, split twice and lost both twice.
- The Pack’s bench is averaging 35.4 points per game this season and has had 20 individual double-digit scoring performances. The Pack has scored 40+ points off the bench in six games this season, including a school-record 62-point performance in the win over USC Upstate on Dec. 22. Since the 1999-2000 season, seven of the top-17 bench scoring performances for NC State have come under Kevin Keatts coached teams.
- Last season, the programs split their two meetings. The Pack won at Chapel Hill in overtime, 95-91, while the Tar Heels won in PNC Arena, 96-89.
- The Tar Heels lead the series, 156-78, winning 28 of the last 32 and 45 of the last 56 games against the Wolfpack.
- This is the first time both teams are ranked in the top 15 in the AP poll since 2/29/2004, a 68- 66 win by No. 12 UNC over No. 14 NC State in Raleigh.
Players to Watch:
Markell Johnson isn’t listed as a projected starter, but he’s one of the most important guys on the Wolfpack team. He’s shooting an incredibly efficient 60% from the field and has has shot 50% or better from the field in 11 of 14 games this season. In the Wolfpack’s win against Miami Johnson tied his best ACC scoring performance with 20 points – including 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the second half. Expect Johnson to keep this same energy in Tuesday night’s showdown against UNC.
Kenny Williams is one of the the Tar Heels’ veteran leaders who knows how tough getting a road win in a packed PNC arena will be, but the senior guard has been admittedly struggling with his 3-point shot. He was 0-3 in UNC’s win against Pitt, 1-3 against Harvard and 2-8 against Davidson, but shooters shoot so expect the ball to start finding the bottom of the net soon…and Tuesday night would be a perfect time for that to happen.
How to Watch:
The game is sold out with tipoff scheduled for 9 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, LaPhonso Ellis, Allison Williams)
RADIO: Tar Heel Sports Properties (Jones Angell, Eric Montross)
SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 135, XM 194, Internet 956